French operator SFR launches off-board navigation with Mappy

SFR V1615
SFR V1615
French wireless operator SFR this week announced the availability of « SFR Navigation », its off-board navigation solution for mobile phones. This solution was developed in partnership with Mappy. Mappy was already providing a free downloadable off-board navigation solution from its mapping portal, subsidized by advertisements.

SFR Navigation offers the standard features of a navigation software, including traffic information for 70,000 kms of roads in France, map coverage in Western Europe (16 countries), French speed cameras database and pedestrian navigation. But the key interest of this solution is the inclusion of the data cost in the subscription price: €2 for 12 hours or €9.9 per month. SFR main competitor, Orange, does not include the data in its solution priced at €10 per month or €1.5 per trip.

This service is immediately available for the Blackberry Curve 8310 and the SFR V1615 (a Windows Mobile Smartphone built by HTC). SFR will extend the number of compatible handsets in the near future. The software from Mappy and its partners has been developed for Symbian, Windows Mobile and Java.

This agreement is a good news for Mappy and illustrate two different business models that will compete in Europe tomorrow for cell phone-based navigation: a free advertising-based solution offered online by directory companies (Mappy is a subsidiary of Pages Jaunes, a big European directory provider) and a all-you-can-eat subscription model integrating the cost of the data offered by a wireless operator.

Friday, September 21st 2007

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